Humble Ambition

Pioneer missionary William Carey is noted for his mantra:

“Expect great things from God, and attempt great things for God.”

These are tremendously inspiring words.  They call us to think about the God in whom we believe, and whom we serve.  Jesus reminded us that “With God nothing is impossible.”  (Luke 1.37)  When Paul thought of our God he wrote: “I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4.13  (I know these verses are often taken out of context, but the point is still valid.)  And having thought of God, Carey’s words encourage us to step out in action.  It is putting feet to our faith.

The question for me is: How does humility fit in here?  When I think of the things I would like to accomplish in my life, I have to ask myself: Is this Holy Ambition or simply Wholly Ambitious?  It is a real dilemma.

I am completely honest when I say that what I want most is for God to be glorified in my life and through my life. But at the same time, I confess, there is a part of me that would enjoy at least some credit, a little bit of the noteriety.  How much of the glory I want varies with each day – and with how honest I am being with myself.  In short, I do desire God’s glory, but my ego is all too alive as well.

How do I resolve this tension? How do I live out William Carey’s mission statement?

Dave Harvey, of Sovereign Grace Ministries, has written a new book, Rescuing Ambition, addressing this very issue.  I have yet to read the book, but I am placing it high on my On Deck list. 

A sneak peak is offered through a series of helpful posts Harvey has written for The Gospel Coalition:

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